Unique Aspects Of A DC Drunk Truck Driver Accident Case
Personal injury cases involving intoxicated truck drivers can quickly become complicated. A diligent drunk truck accident attorney could help navigate you and advocate on your behalf. Reach out to learn about the unique aspects of a DC drunk truck driver accident case and how a lawyer could help you seek compensation
Regulatory Requirements for Illegal Drugs or Alcohol
A trucking company is required to test their drivers periodically to make sure that they are not doing illegal drugs. The process is much more complicated now that certain drugs like marijuana can be legal in certain states. But that does not mean the drug does stay in a driver’s system beyond the time when they are under the influence of that drug. Additionally, that does not mean that the employer cannot say it is still impermissible for our drivers to do it, and they can still test their drivers for it.
When a driver is in an accident, it would also be quite common for the trucking company to do a blood urine test at the hospital of an injured driver who is involved in an accident to make sure that they were not under the influence. And that way, they could use that information as a defense for a claim for punitive damages.
What Happens If An Accident Does Not Occur Within The Driver’s Scope Of Employment?
There would likely be no coverage through the employer’s policy, corporate policy for the truck, or the trucking company’s policy if a collision occurs outside the scope of the driver’s employment. It would be a frolic and detour that the driver took upon him or herself to make while they were under the influence of alcohol. The coverage may be disclaimed by the commercial policyholder, and a claim would have to be pursued against the driver’s personal policy. If there was no personal coverage available, then the victim, if they were driving a vehicle when the accident happened, would be able to make an uninsured motorist claim to their own policy.
The Truck Owner’s Liability
Generally, the policy for the truck is primary. If the driver was using the vehicle with the permission of the owner of the truck, then that should be the coverage as primary. If that coverage is not available, then the secondary coverage would be the driver’s personal policy or other coverage that the driver has. Tertiary coverage would be uninsured motorist coverage for the victim under the victim’s policy.
Can The Injured Driver Be Partially Responsible For The Accident?
In Washington, DC, if a victim of an auto accident is found to be contributorily negligent, which means that they are partially at fault for the accident, then they are barred from any recovery whatsoever in the accident against the liable party. That does not mean they cannot make a first-party or a claim under their own coverage for medical bills and lost wages that may be available regardless of their contributory negligence, but they would be barred from a liability claim against the at-fault party if they are found to be contributorily negligent.
What If The Injured Person Was Also a Drunk Driver?
If the injured person was a drunk driver, then they would be contributorily negligent and would be barred from any recovery. Any recovery against the liable party, if some other party may have been liable for the accident. For example, if a driver is rear-ended at a red light and the victim may have been intoxicated, that driver could make a claim for liability against the person that rear-ended them. This is because their intoxication was not a contributing factor to the crash.
However, if they are found to be contributorily negligent in any way for causing the accident, even one percent at fault, then that victim is barred from recovery for a liability claim. This does not mean the victim cannot make a first-party claim for medical bills or lost wages.
What If a Loved One is Killed in an Accident?
A claim for economic damages, as well as non-economic damages, can be pursued when there is a wrongful death claim. That would include future lost wages and other damages associated with a wrongful death because the victim won’t be around any longer. That would also allow the estate, and there are also other types of compensation available depending on if the decedent, died instantly or died after the accident took place. There may be in some jurisdictions, there may be a survival action, which would compensate them for the pain and suffering they endured before being deceased or being declared deceased.
Are Cases Usually settled?
Most truck accident cases settle because there is no issue about liability. But that does not mean there is an agreement as to the value of the claim. Just because an insurance company acknowledges that their insured was intoxicated and that there is no issue about who is at fault in the accident. That does not mean that they necessarily believe that the victim’s injuries are worth a certain amount and an agreement with the attorney that represents the victim or the victim’s family. Additionally, just because there is intoxication, it does not change the fact that the claim may not settle anyway, they may still have to go to litigation.
Reach Out to a Truck Accident Attorney As Soon As Possible
If you were involved in a truck accident involving a drunk trucker, you should seek legal help immediately. A knowledgeable attorney could help you seek compensation for all of your damages. Call Gelb & Gelb, P.C. today to discuss the unique aspects of a drunk truck driver accident case.